Review of the NordicTrack CX 995 Elliptical

Posted on August 2nd, 2003 in Product Reviews,Technology by EngineerBoy

We purchased the NordicTrack CX 995 Elliptical Trainer (aka CX995 or NTE1392) recently, directly from the NordicTrack website. The online experience was smooth, and the product was delivered within the promised time frame. Here are our impressions of the unit, so far:

If I Were Already Hercules, I Wouldn’t Need This Thing!

Please note that their delivery company only delivers curb-side, and will not bring the unit inside. They clearly state this in the shipping section, but the full impact does not hit home until the delivery guy leaves you with a 260 lb. cardboard box, secured with straps, sitting on a wooden pallet in your garage. You can take about ¼ of the weight out of the box by schlepping in the smaller bits and pieces, but the main unit, with the attached elliptical ramps, is all in one piece. In our case we were installing the unit in our upstairs bedroom, and getting it upstairs was quite a challenging chore. Be sure you have two strong, competent, affable people to wrangle the thing, because it’s pretty frustrating.

Some Assembly Required, Some More Assembly Required, More and More Assembly Required…!

Assembly is also a bit of a chore, but if you’ve ever bought a complicated piece of furniture from IKEA or some other put-it-together-yourself place, you can probably handle it. Keep in mind that assembly is definitely a two-person activity, as there are several cases where things have to be held in place and aligned, while other things are assembled/inserted/etc. Again, the directions clearly state that two people are needed, so believe it. It took us about 90 minutes to get the thing together.

Oh Baby, That’s Smooth

Once assembled, the first ride was very positive. The machine is extremely solidly built, and the movements are quiet and sure as you ellipse. The machine also comes with a wireless chest pulse sensor, that you wear around your torso, and you can track your heart rate on the console as you work out. There are also heart-rate monitors built into the handgrips if you don’t want to use the wireless one. The handgrip sensors will also measure your body fat percentage (damn them).

The footpads on this model are spaced apart such that the movement feels very natural. We had tried some of the other NordicTrack ellipticals in various sporting goods stores, and the foot pedals were widely spaced, meaning that you were doing a weird sort of bowlegged shuffle instead of a normal-feeling running motion.

The incline of the ramp adjusts electronically, so as you go through your exercise program the unit will hum and you will suddenly be “running” uphill. The motion on this unit is very smooth, and it feels very natural, like running but without the pounding.

This Unit Are Smart

The console provides around 20 different workout programs. They offer such things as hilly terrain, where the slope changes as you run, fat burning, strength training, etc. My favorites are the ones that let you target your heart rate and then the unit automatically varies the workout (and prompts you to speed up/slow down) to keep you near your target heart rate. There’s also a fan in the center of the console, which you can turn on and have it blow on your torso or face, as it is adjustable. One minor complaint is that if you tilt the fan down far enough to blow on your body, it will slowly scooch it’s way back to the point where it’s blowing on your face. In other words, it doesn’t stay where you point it.

The Fatal Flaw

OK, we really do love this machine. It is solidly built, has lots of very useful features, and works like a dream. When you use it you can feel how well engineered it is, and you can tell that the designers went to great lengths to make it smooth and quiet. It being quiet is very important to us, because we use this in our bedroom, and often one is using it while the other is sleeping. The unit is quiet enough for that, except for one thing.

YOU CANNOT CONTROL THE BEEPING OF THE CONSOLE!!! It can’t be muted or even turned down. All of the exercise programs emit periodic beeps to tell you about your progress or alert you to various things that are happening in your program. There are places where it will beep every minute…and not just one beep, but a series of beeps, counting down. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

I contacted NordicTrack and they told me that was the way it was, and there was nothing to be done. Eventually, if we don’t become immune to it, I’ll probably end up disassembling the console and snipping the speaker wires. But I don’t want to ruin the unit, or void the warranty just yet. Still, this issue seems like an incredibly stupid oversight by the folks at NordicTrack. Can you imagine being one of the engineers, who worked and slaved to shave off every decibel of noise that you possibly could, and then having some electronics geek stupidly put an incessantly beeping console on your beautiful machine? As a geek-engineer myself, it breaks my heart to see the near-perfection of this unit ruined by something so pedestrian as yet-another-annoying-beeping-electronic-device.

But We Still Recommend It

All that being said, the unit’s positives outweigh that one glaring negative. If you’re looking for a solid, feature-rich, sub-$1,000 elliptical, take a good look at this one. If you can live with the beeping, it will probably fit the bill.

3 Responses to 'Review of the NordicTrack CX 995 Elliptical'

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  1. Susan said,

    on March 7th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Here it is over 6 years after your post and the beeping is still an issue for the elipticals. I have an AS 1000 that is about 2 yrs old and I hardly use it due to the continuous beeping!! I’m looking for a soluction but haven’t found one yet. Thanks for your post.

  2. EngineerBoy said,

    on March 7th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Wow, unbelievable after all this time – just a mute button or something, it can’t be that expensive for them to do! Sheeeesh.

  3. stacey said,

    on November 29th, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I had this problem with a dart board with electronic score keeping. I put a nice thick piece of duct tape over the speaker vents, and it worked great to mute it! If you wanted, you could even put some tissue first, and it would mute it even more.

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